At this point, you may be sold on the idea of decision support systems. You believe they are important, and you want to include them within the assets of your department or organization. The next logical question is how to start. The answer is a clear and unequivocal, "it depends."

The best approach depends upon the kind of systems already in place and the intended focus of the DSS. As with any good systems analysis and design process, it is important to understand the needs of the application and to select the models, model management system, databases, database management system, and user interface in a manner that best meets the needs of that application. Successful DSS can be built on almost any kind of platform with almost any kind of software, but it is crucial that the choices fit the application. Selecting tools and vendors before understanding the problem or forcing tools to meet needs after the fact will certainly lead to failure.

The physical design of a successful DSS must follow a logical design, which in turn must be guided by the decision-making process. In particular, designers should ask the same fundamental questions as those on which reporters rely:

  • Who needs the DSS?

  • What advantages does the user expect by using the DSS?

  • When will the DSS be used?

  • Where does this system fit into the general business process?

  • Why is a DSS needed?

  • How will the DSS be used?

While these questions seem obvious, we must keep returning to them as ...

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